Every day I scour the internet in search of awesome airfares I can take advantage of. I used to do the whole Kayak/Priceline/Mobissimo searches, but they became long, complicated guess-and-check processes and I wanted faster results. These sites below that offer me a lot of flexibility and… http://katkatravels.com/?p=1773
BootsnAll recently helped launch a very exciting travel website entitled Indie, aimed at helping travel folks easily put together their dream of traveling around the world. With this program, one can plot out their RTW trip and get a nice, quick price quote for what their RTW trip will potentially cost them (prices are for airfare only, however you can plot out your land travel as well to get a better idea of how your trip will work. The land travel is not factored into the final price though).
Does it make it easy to create a RTW trip? Sure does! I love being able to map out where I want to go and how I’ll get there. Except there are a few problems…
I tried mapping out a few potential places based on location proximity. I hate flying as it is and like to be on a plane for as little amount of time as possible, so I tried to map out a route with airports relatively close to each other. The results are not so ideal. When I wanted to go from Mexico City to Bogota, Columbia – pretty close, as far as I could see – I’d have to fly from Mexico City, back to New York (my initial launch pad), then from New York to Bogota. Not only did I increase the amount of time on a plane, but I’m flying northeast to fly back southwest.
That’s about twice the gasoline emissions sent into the air for a trip that should be a one-stop shot. I have to tinker around with Indie’s site a little more. I do like that they include a section of successful RTW itineraries, which I’m going to browse, because maybe I’m setting my sights too high. But when you can book a 25-stop RTW trip in one shot, what’s to stop be from experimenting a bit?
I also wanted to fly from Brazil to Namibia, being that they are literally “across the pond” from each other. No dice. It would require me to fly from Rio, to New York, New York to Johannesburg, then Joburg to Namibia. A totally convoluted route to reach somewhere that, according to what I’d plotted out, seems like a straight shot. Not to mention all of the gasoline emissions from flying back, and forth, and back again.
Anyone know why this would be the case? Surely there are people who fly from Rio to Namibia who don’t have to deal with all of this crazy international hullabaloo. Does it have to do with visas/being an American citizen, and having to travel through an American hub? Maybe it’s just the flights that come onto the radar at the time I search, or maybe that’s just how the airline industry works.
Or maybe I’m just doing it wrong. I’m not planning on doing a RTW trip for some time, but when I do, I want it to be as easy as possible. Travel dudes, help me out!
Sign up for your own account on Indie here. Hopefully you have better luck than I!
PS just found this post on BootsnAll’s site: 5 Affordable Round the World Routes. I will definitely keep this in mind for planning my own trip!
- Cavallini Mini Notebooks: I saw these at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and absolutely HAD to have them. They are small enough to stash in your purse or clutch so no travel moment goes unrecorded. I love their vintage style, and are pretty enough to store on a shelf later.
- Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1: This compact system DSLR is perfect for photographers looking to transition from their point-and-shoots to something more advanced. The lenses are small and interchangeable and the features are very user-friendly. The bodies also come in super fun colors (mine is a soft, rosy pink!). No bulky camera bag required, you will be amazed by the size of this thing.
- North Face Fleece: At first I was averse to North Face products – thought they were more fashion than function. Now I’m barely seen without my North Face zip-up hoodie, perfect for layering and super warm/comfy.
- Lunch Crock Pot: Let’s face it – leftovers just don’t taste as good heated up in the microwave. Behold, the lunch crock! Plug it in to an outlet and your food heats up like it was freshly cooked. Perfect for picking up soups or meals at the local market, to be eaten later. Compact enough to pack in your luggage and safe to use in your hotel or hostel.
- On-Location Candle: Can’t travel this holiday season? Bring the scents of your favorite places to you! Bath and Body Works recently came out with a series of candles inspired by their favorite vacation spots. There’s tea and lemon for London, and a spicy, musk-scent for Morocco. And who doesn’t like the idea of cocktails and coconuts on a cold, winter night?
- Vapur Element water bottle: I absolutely adore this water bottle, which rolls up compactly once empty. Eco-friendly, takes up no space and ensures you have clean water whenever you need.
As travelers, it’s easy for us to forget that not every country celebrates Thanksgiving. It’s even easier for us to forget that not all countries sell frozen turkeys. Recently, I wrote an article for Matador Network on my improvised Thanksgiving meal that occurred in Slovakia in 2008. That was probably the best Thanksgiving I ever had and it was a really special memory. Check it out!
Figure out a menu that will show your new Slovak friends how Thanksgiving is your most favorite holiday in the world. Feel slightly intimidated that many Slovaks make their meals from scratch, so obviously instant mashed potatoes will not do (not that they really exist in Slovakia…). The trepidation wears off as you recall that part of Thanksgiving’s charm is having an excuse to eat everything in sight.
As an emerging writer, I am not yet used to receiving responses to articles I’ve published on the web or in print. I’m usually elated if I get one or two, and especially cheery if they say something positive like “Good job!” Who wouldn’t be? But then, there are the critics. Critics, it seems try to bring you down for only reasons they understand.
- People are entitled to their own opinions. One of the hardest things to reconcile with is that there are going to be people out there who won’t like your work. Scott suggests writers “humanize the person commenting…they’re people. And that’s what you have to remember. People who feel stuff. They’re angry people, obviously, and pretty clearly dealing with some control issues. (What type of person takes time, considerable time, out of their day to anonymously post this hateful shit?)” It sucks to see it, but honestly, you can’t criticize a person’s feelings. Some people just don’t see it your way. And that’s that.
- Don’t be that author. If you respond in an equally-negative fashion, what does that say about you? That you are a bitter author who can dish it but can’t take it? A strong writer is one who is able to forge ahead without a little bad commentary dragging them down.
- Not all criticism is bad for you. Sometimes, internet trolls actually do you some good. If people disagree with comments, they will fight back with a vengeance and support you. But even if it is overwhelmingly negative, at least people are reading it. You can open up a new conversation, and learn from the experience as well. “A huge flux of negative comments can teach you to stay away from certain topics in your writing,” Scott describes. “When you write something and ALL the feedback is negative, you can learn something from that, even if the individual comments are stupid.”
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People whose homes were not annihilated during Hurricane Sandy still freaked out a bit. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I’M LIVING WITHOUT ELECTRICITY/HEAT/WATER/GAS FOR TWO WEEKS? HOW AM I EVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING EVER AGAIN?!?!?!??!” People lamented and “woo is me”d until the the magic lights came back on and suddenly, everything was fine.
What most people don’t realize however, is that there are people all around the world who live without basic amenities every day – sometimes, for their whole lives. This is something you would only be able to know by traveling the world and exposing yourself to the way other people live. It’s one thing to see it on the news, it’s another to actually live it.
No power? No problem. I wanted to write an article about how it’s alright to live without the things we take for granted, as long as we are resourceful in other ways. I love learning how I an improve my life from watching another way of doing things. For example, I never would have known what to do with myself in the dark if I hadn’t lived through continuous blackouts in Ghana. And I never would have figured out what I could and could not eat if I hadn’t been without a fridge in Slovakia. We learn as we travel, it changes us, and it helps us grow in other ways.
Before the next natural disaster hits, check out my survival lessons I applied to Hurricane Sandy. You’d be surprised how easy it really is to live without technological innovations.
What were some travel skills that you were able to use to get you through the storm?
Peru is definitely on my list of places to go, if only to see Machu Picchu. But if I only have six nights to see everything, I want to do it right. Sometimes, guided tours are a good thing…
What You Get: International airfare from Miami to Lima, intra-Peru airfare, 6 nights accommodations (3 nights in Lima, 2 nights in Cusco and 1 night in Aguas Caliente near Machu Picchu), English-speaking tour guide, all transfers and entrance fees, 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners.
Additional info: Reservations will require a deposit to secure the package airfare.
Why this trip is awesome: HELLO! MACHU PICCHU, one of the great mountainous mysteries of the ancient world! This trip provides a nice little sampling of Peru’s great cities and sights. Traveling to Machu Picchu can be a little hectic, so having a guide plan everything for you makes it really easy. A couple of meals thrown in there also helps cut down costs for you while still allowing you to sample local flavors on your own.
Dates: March 11, 25, April 8, 22 or May 20, 2013
Book by: October 26, 2012. Click here to book.
Recently, BootsnAll held a fantastic interactive RTW chat about career-break travel. One of their innovative methods was recording their Google Hangout session and posting it on Youtube. I really enjoyed watching the experts discuss this topic in-depth. Sometimes, 140 characters just doesn’t cut it – I need to hear it from the “horse’s mouth.”
I am always ready, and never ready, for career-break travel. Yes, of course I am totally capable of packing up my bags and leaving home to travel the world – the motivation isn’t the problem. But at this juncture in my life, I have too many responsibilities that are unavoidable. I have to pay my student loans. I have at least a year of grad school left. My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married soon. I could leave my family, my home, my dog and my friends behind, no problem, and I have enough money saved to make it possible, but those aforementioned hiccups sadly are causing the delay.
Before the BootsnAll RTW chat, career-break travel depressed me. Here I am, 25, well-traveled but always seeking more, and always jealous of those younger than I who have traveled extensively. “Travel while you’re young,” people always tell me; I freak out visualizing how someday I’ll be too old and full of kids and arthritis to do anything ever again. Hearing miserable adults reminiscing about their study abroad or backpacking stints in their 20s also worries me. I can’t imagine going through life the same way – honestly, it terrifies me.
But hearing the BootsnAll RTW career-break travel chat live was incredibly inspiring. Here are a handful of people who have taken that leap, and guess what? They didn’t do it when they were 25! Sherri Ott, founder of MeetGoPlan said she took her career break at 35. That’s ten years more I have to save, plan and GO! She made me confident that career break travel can occur at any age and that you don’t have to be an early 20s spring chicken to enjoy adventurous world travel. Not to mention, scores of other social media users I connect with are well-seasoned, spritely travelers, and none of them are younger than 25.
So the point is, if you are young and suffer from wanderlust, don’t get discouraged. If travel is a priority in your life (like it is in mine), you’ll make it happen. All of those little trips will eventually lead up to one big, fabulous experience. Whether that career break comes when you’re 25 or 55, it’ll come, it will be wonderful, life changing, and help you feel complete.
It’s always good to have long-term goals, and RTW travel is definitely something to look forward to!
You are never too old to dream a new dream ~ C.S. Lewis
I am loving this article by Pam, acclaimed travel writer and photographer over at Nerd’s Eye View. Her recent review of TBEX Europe ’12 was insightful and thought-provoking, but most of all, led me to this little gem about the travel writing format.
Everyone does it: when trying to encapsulate our emotions about a place, travel writing can sometimes come off more promotional than relevant. I struggle with this a lot – how do you make a place sound good without making it sound “good?” Even if you truly feel that the beaches of the Bahamas are “gorgeous beyond belief” or “the hot place to be in 2013,” it still sounds like someone paid you to say so.
However, Pam helped me evaluate how to “Travel Write, not Travel Wrong.” Of course, this insight is purely subjective and obviously, there is no absolute perfect way to write about travel. Above all, it is important to remember your purpose for writing. If you want to make travel more promotional, and if that’s your strength, go for it!
I especially love these few lines:
I am glad you had an awesome time on someone else’s nickel, now, can you tell me something genuinely interesting, new, insightful, enlightening, peculiar, maddening… about the destination? Or am I just reading about you and your friends (or a group of bloggers) having a good time? Whose voice am I hearing when I read about your travels? Yours or a voice heavily filtered to please a sponsor? When you sit down to write, do you think about who you’re writing for?
I started travel writing because I had stories that I wanted to tell. I have experiences that may be relatable, or may be totally distant. But I think sometimes my travels are interesting, and that my style of writing is different from other authors out there.
Pam put into perspective a form of travel writing I need to improve on. Are the words on the page genuinely interesting, or just something I think people want to hear? Is there a way I can craft my topics into narrative form so that it sounds less like an advertorial campaign and more like an adventure?
Or, think about it this way:
Many people write for travel in hopes that readers will live vicariously through them. They had such a good time at the Great Wall of China, why shouldn’t their readers feel the same way? Except, everyone’s travel experience is different. You may have thought the Eiffel Tower was “amazing and beautiful” and someone else might think it’s “ugly and out of place.” Instead of trying to replicate your trip for others, why not just share an experience you had? Don’t try to make it sound awe-inspiring, or critical, or preachy.
Just write it how you want to remember it, and let your readers have an adventure of their own.
What are some of your tips for travel writing?
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$80 to freeze my butt off and look up at the night’s sky? Some of the “Northern Lights” tours through Iceland’s countryside promise guaranteed sightings or a free tour the next day, but who has time to plan that closely? I’m only in Iceland for five days. I want to make the most of every minute.
“Rent a car and do a self-guided tour,” the forums touted. Lots of attractions in Iceland are free because it’s all nature-based, so Lindsey and I decide to take the plunge. I find SADcars via BeersandBeans, whose experience with the company seems very pleasant. We want to see a lot of Iceland in a little bit of time; SADcars helped us achieve this goal.
“Do you have an automatic vehicle?” I ask the SADcar employee. He’s very obliging despite our drowsy demeanor, and at 7:00am we are introduced to a candy-apple red Toyota hatchback. It’s nothing gorgeous, but I’m happy about that. Driving in Iceland is not a clean business. I don’t worry about bringing back the car with normal wear and tear that comes with rural driving, since the car’s main purpose is to get me there and back – not make me look like a rockstar.
Siggy, an employee of the company, and I have several conversations about Iceland on Twitter via @SADcars. She’s extremely helpful and cool. It’s also comforting to know there are service stations all across Iceland so if we break down or something happens, help is on the way.
“You don’t need to fill up the gas tank before you return it,” the rental employee tells us before we drive off. Good news, because we spend almost half of our budget on petrol.
Put the keys in the car. Turn the windshield wipers on as it starts to drizzle. We are surprised how smooth the car runs and how bright the lights are. The seats are comfortable, broken in, as though I’ve been driving this vehicle my entire life.
Our SADcar stores our luggage after a grizzly hostel worker says we can’t check in until 2pm. It also becomes our pantry after we pick up snacks and drinks for our impeding road trips. I don’t worry about how long things will take or about being anywhere on time, since our car offers us ultimate flexibility (especially when we decide at 1am on a Monday night to go chase the Northern Lights). Plus, listening to Icelandic radio is super cool. The selection of Icelandic songs and hearing their unique language over the airwaves is an out of this world experience.
*All vendors reviews are based on purchases by the author. No promotional discounts were provided/solicited. Reviews are the sole opinion of the author as a way of saying “Thanks!” for great service.